HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - From Oak Grove to Southern Miss, Kirk McCarty and Taylor Braley have played a lot of baseball together.
For the first time in a while, the two will suit up on separate teams after Braley signed a professional contract with the Miami Marlins and McCarty inked with Cleveland Indians.
"We played baseball together every day," McCarty said. "I think I can count on two hands the number of games I've played where Taylor wasn't in a uniform with me."
As teammates at Oak Grove, McCarty and Braley helped the Warriors to class 6A baseball state championships in 2012 and 2014.
The duo didn't quite capture the championship they were hoping for at Southern Miss. However, as two of USM's weekend starters, McCarty and Braley helped the Golden Eagles to a school-record 50 wins.
A sixth round pick by the Marlins in the 2017 MLB Draft, Braley finished with a 7-2 record for USM this season, striking out 78 batters in 82 innings. The 222nd overall pick in the draft, McCarty went 10-2 this season, becoming the first Eagle since Shea Douglas in 2002 to reach the 100-strikeout plateau (103).
Now the first-team All-Conference USA selections begin a new chapter of their respective baseball careers.
"It's definitely a great feeling," Braley said. "Even after we lost our last game, I remember [McCarty] coming up saying something about playing together all these years and hopefully we can keep doing it."